Oceanside, CA – Thursday, February 27, 2020 will mark 25 years of service for San Diego’s commuter train, the COASTER. In order to celebrate the 25th anniversary, the 33 million rides that have been provided over the years, and to thank our customers and employees, the North County Transit District (NCTD) is throwing a party with free rides on the COASTER on February 27th, giveaways, free cupcakes, and more!
In 1982, planning began for the Coast Express Rail commuter rail service. On June 2, 1994, the NCTD Board of Directors created a non-profit corporation called the San Diego Northern Railway (SDNR) to maintain, enhance, and operate what is now known as the COASTER. On February 27, 1995, COASTER service commenced with six morning trains and six evening trains. Twenty-five years later, the COASTER continues its Oceanside to downtown San Diego service with 22 weekday trains and eight weekend trains servicing eight stops along the way including stations in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Sorrento Valley, and Old Town San Diego.
Today, COASTER has an annual ridership of more than 1.4 million and an average weekday ridership of nearly 4,900. The COASTER provides a service which helps the environment, provides a necessary travel option for many commuters, and works to alleviate congestion on the surrounding roadways. Throughout its 25 years of service, the COASTER has reduced travel on our congested roads and reduced harmful emissions by transporting customers over 927 million passenger miles.
NCTD currently operates a fleet of seven locomotives on the San Diego Subdivision of the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) corridor to support COASTER operations. The fleet is composed of two F-59 locomotives and five F-40 locomotives. NCTD will receive five new locomotives by the end of 2020 and plans to purchase four additional locomotives, 11 new rail passenger cars, and complete the overhauls of the current fleet of rail cars to support increasing the number of trains operated from 22 to 42 trains per day over the next 36 months. The new locomotives are more environmentally friendly and will help NCTD achieve its goal of zero passenger delay.
The COASTER 25th Anniversary celebration will kick off on Thursday, February 27 with a giveaway event at the Oceanside Transit Center from 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and free rides all day for COASTER riders (Rail 2 Rail not included). On Friday, February 28, the festivities will continue with giveaways from NCTD and local radio stations Sunny 98.1 and ALT 94.9 at Carlsbad Village COASTER station and Encinitas COASTER station from 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Throughout the year, NCTD will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the COASTER with events each month at different COASTER stations.
“The COASTER is a staple in our community providing reliable connectivity within San Diego County,” said NCTD Board Chair and Encinitas council member Tony Kranz. “We are so pleased to celebrate this anniversary with the public by offering free rides! If you’re a regular customer or just trying it for the first time, come take a ride on the COASTER and experience the amazing scenery and quality service that NCTD offers every day.”
“NCTD is delighted to celebrate this milestone with San Diego,” said NCTD Executive Director Matthew Tucker. “And, as we look to the future, NCTD will significantly increase service frequencies on COASTER, implement real time information, and improve first and last mile connections to COASTER stations. The next few years are going to be very exciting!”
For more information about free rides on COASTER and the COASTER 25th Anniversary, visit GoNCTD.com/COASTER25th.